EDUCE Overview Copyright 2009 Nikolas S. Boyd.
All rights reserved.

Normal Person


Convert a subject from first or second person to third person.


First and second person both obscure the role of a statement subject. Subjects that are expressed in the first or second person are (in some sense) "too" personal.

Object-oriented software designs need a more "objective" or "impersonal" view of events and relationships that reveals the thematic role of a statement subject. Third person takes an "objective" stance in relation to a subject, and makes its thematic role in an action, event, or relationship more readily apparent.


Use normal person when


The normalized subject in a statement is often a principal in a relationship or event, or the agent of an action. Thus, the subject plays a meaningful role in a statement.

Finding the role of a subject within a statement is an important step towards understanding and utilizing the statement in the context of software development. Object-oriented software designs use a particular kind of metonymy, where a role name is used as a class name, and sometimes also as the names of class instances.

Early object-oriented software designers (esp. RDD, responsibility-driven design) likened objects to collaborative agents, with a clear division of responsibilities, and a view of object interactions as messages between members of a cooperative team. With this explicitly anthropomorphic view of software, each object plays a specific role within a community of related objects.

An object-oriented software designer gives each role a name that evokes and summarizes its responsibilities. The combination of a role and its responsibilities together form the basis of a good class candidate within an object-oriented design.


A normal form sentence has a third person subject with (usually) singular number.